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Norway, Switzerland make it to Women's World Cup last 16

Norway, Switzerland into Women's World Cup last 16 as co-hosts New Zealand crash out
3 min read
Norway and Switzerland have now made it to the next round of the Women's World Cup, following a series of impressive performances.
Norway beat the Philippines 6-0 in an impressive match on Sunday, securing their place in the last 16 [Getty]

Former champions Norway hit the Philippines for six to squeeze into the Women's World Cup last 16 on Sunday but co-hosts New Zealand bowed out in tears after a goalless stalemate with Switzerland.

Switzerland topped an excruciatingly tight Group A which saw a heartbroken New Zealand team knocked out by virtue of an inferior goal difference compared to Norway.

The 1995 champions Norway needed a win and they did it in style, thrashing debutants the Philippines 6-0 at Eden Park in Auckland.

Sophie Roman Haug scored a hat-trick as the Philippines' fairytale journey came to a shuddering halt.

With Norway well ahead, New Zealand - who were in pole position at the start of the day along with the Swiss to go through - now needed to beat Switzerland in Dunedin.

The hosts had the better of the first half with a string of chances, the pick of which saw forward Jacqui Hand rattle the post on 24 minutes.

As Norway chalked up the goals in Auckland, the New Zealanders upped the intensity, knowing only a win would be good enough to advance.

The atmosphere among the sell-out crowd grew more heated as both teams pushed for a goal and New Zealand goalkeeper Victoria Esson might have won it with a header from a corner in added time that went wide.

Many of the New Zealand players were in tears as their run ended.

The Football Ferns made history at this tournament by recording their first-ever World Cup win, but they fell agonisingly just short in the end.

The second round of games in Group H sees Germany, one of the tournament favourites, take on Colombia in Sydney.

Earlier in the same group, Morocco won a Women's World Cup match for the first time after Ibtissam Jraidi struck early to give them a stunning 1-0 victory over South Korea.

Having been thrashed 6-0 by Germany on their World Cup debut, this hard-earned win kept alive Morocco's unlikely chances of reaching the last 16.

As well as a first Morocco victory at the tournament, there was another piece of history when defender Nouhaila Benzina became the first to play in a hijab at the Women's World Cup.

"We are just so glad that our efforts paid off," said the goal-scorer Jraidi.

"I would like to dedicate this victory to Morocco and all the Arab nations at large. It was the fruit of our hard work."

French coach Reynald Pedros saw his Morocco team take the lead after only six minutes in front of just over 13,000 fans in Adelaide.

Hanane Ait El Haj crossed and forward Jraidi nipped in ahead of her marker to expertly glance her header into the far corner.

Morocco, ranked 72 in the world, were supposed underdogs against the 17th-ranked Koreans.

Colin Bell's Korean side belatedly grew into the game towards the end of the first half, but like in their 2-0 opening defeat to Colombia, they lacked punch up front.

South Korea were left facing an early exit, having failed to get even one shot on target despite all their possession.

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The Englishman Bell could not hide his disappointment.

"First of all, congratulations to Morocco on the win, the first in their World Cup history," he said.

"I'm not going to say it was deserved. They got off to a good start and that affected us in the first half."

"Second half we had almost all of the play, but the chances that we did create, we rushed them, we didn't take them.

"I've experienced many ups and downs in football, and this is definitely one of the worst moments."